Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said that with the recent challenges facing Nigeria, it has become imperative for government at all levels to rise to the occasion by adopting fiscal federalism in tackling the challenges and create pathways for Nigeria’s development.
He argued that what the country needs to do at the moment was to plan how it can get the best in terms of federalism, adding that if the federal system was right, needed development would be engendered in the country.
The governor also said that his administration would continue to remain sensitive to the yearnings of the people, adding that the government would always put the people’s interests first in all its policies and programmes.
Speaking yesterday while receiving a delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, Makinde noted that in view of the challenges facing the country, stakeholders must work towards actualising fiscal federalism.
According to the governor, it has become imperative for the country to make drastic changes in terms of the federalism it is running, noting that fiscal federalism has become non-negotiable in the face of the myriad of challenges facing the country.
He added that the myriad of challenges bedevilling the country can be attributed to unemployment and deficit in critical infrastructures needed to serve as a pathway for development and prosperity for Nigeria and Nigerians.
He said: “One of the things that I believe we have to deal with right now as a country is how we can get the best for our country. What kind of arrangement can give us the best? I have been accused of completing projects initiated by the previous administration and we are not ashamed to do that. I will like to tell you the reasons so that when you have the opportunity to weigh in, you can know which direction to go.
“If we are talking about infrastructure right now, Nigeria is trying to build the rail line from Lagos to Ibadan. We are trying to build the road from Lagos to Ibadan. If these had been done up to the standard that we expect five to 10 years ago, then, it would not be an issue today.
“If you look at the industrial revolution, the first wave, which basically talked about mechanization, when you move from that to the second wave – the second wave rose on the first. The third is riding on the second. So, if you are able to solve a particular problem, when you want to move, you move farther away and consolidate on what you have done before. So, we have the challenge of what kind of federation are we supposed to be?
“Since I came to government, I have been reading a lot of books on why our forefathers, the people that negotiated independence for this country, chose federalism and what we have done in terms of pushing that further up until now. There are some of the challenges we are faced with, which I can track back to the issue of true and fiscal federalism for the country. And lawyers have a very big role to play. I believe if we have proper federalism, the development will come, which is of particular interest to me and the public.
“All the tension we are having all around – the insecurity and others – can be traced to lack of opportunities for the people. We are producing young graduates and we are not able to properly engage them. My Commissioner for Finance is in Abuja now for FAAC. If we don’t have it, the whole place will probably collapse. But why should that be? If it is a federation, why are we all running to Abuja every month to look for federal allocation? So, those are some of the challenges that I know when legal minds come together, they can assist the country. You can weigh in and let your voices be heard.”